“Go to the ant, oh sluggard. Consider her ways and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, oh sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber and want like an armed man.”
This is a pretty powerful picture and exhortation. To work hard, using the ant as an illustration, the wisdom of the ant to prepare bread in summer, gather food in harvest, like, the ant is called and why is here? Because the ant works, labors for provision. We see this at different points in Proverbs in such a way that the sluggard is warned for not working.
God has made us to labor for His glory. Lord, deliver us from both idleness and the idolatry of work. In everything we do, may we glorify You.
A little sleep, a little slumber. It’s like the sluggard says, “It’s just a little bit of rest here and there,” but in the end, this is a picture of a person who does not work hard. Now, obviously this could be misunderstood to say never rest, which we know the Bible does not teach. God Himself models rest for us, but it’s interesting. It’s not that God rests for six days and then works for one. God works for six days in creation and then rests on the seventh. Clearly, God has created us to work, and to work hard. To labor in a way that brings Him glory. In a way that brings provision for our lives, for our families. In a way that provides for the good of society and people around us. Work is good.
I think about even reading like Second Thessalonians and First Thessalonians, you have all these people in Thessalonica who were saying, “Jesus is going to come back at any moment,” and so people were quitting their jobs and not working. Paul writes a letter to them to say, “Get to work, get a job.” Because, we were created by God to work to the extent with which we are physically able to do so, to work to His glory. Yes, to rest along the way, but to be hard workers who labor, because in the Colossians 3:23 and 24, kind of way, our ultimate master is not an employer in this or that job. Our ultimate master is Jesus, and we are serving him, and we work for his glory.
God, we pray that you would help us to work wisely for your glory. Lord, we pray that you deliver us from the idolatry of work where we are always working, doing more, never resting, and losing perspective on what is most important in the world. Losing perspective on how you’ve called us to work. At the same time, God, we pray that you would deliver us from idleness in work. From not working when we are physically able to do so, from being lazy. God, please deliver us from all laziness. Make us hard working people who thrive in the work you’ve given us. Regardless of how old we are, regardless of what gifts we have, how young we are, what gifts we may not have. God, we pray that you would help us to steward the time, energy, gifts, resources you have given us to work hard in this world for your glory, and to rest in ways that are appropriate according to your word. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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